A good posture is a state of skeletal and muscular balance that is capable of protecting the body structures and in childhood, this balance is subject to modifications due to daily life habits. The period of body growth and development that happen in childhood is extremely important because many postural problems originate in these stages of life.
Although people usually associate posture with sitting up or standing, good posture is actually something we can promote in every aspect of movement. The proper posture of a child is natural and normal position without any muscle strain. Children spend many hours sitting at school, doing homework, riding to and from school, playing computer games, or texting on their phones. During these prolonged sitting postures, as well as during periods of rapid growth, the muscles of the spine become elongated and weaker. This makes it more difficult for your child to sit upright, despite your constant exhortations for them to sit up straight. Eventually your child’s spinal musculature will become stronger and his or her posture will improve, but in the meantime, poor posture can adversely affect your child’s health. A forward head and slumped sitting posture frequently causes musculoskeletal pain like headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and lower back pain. It may even increase the levels of stress hormones in the body and also decrease self-confidence as reflected by lower testosterone levels.
Here are a few things you can do to help offset habits that lead to your child’s poor posture and how to maintain and improve it.
- Proper Nutrition - Many families have busy schedules nowadays which make it hard to sit down to homemade meals every day. But healthy eating habits are more likely to stay with you if you learn them as a child and that’s why it is important that you teach your children good habits. It will help them stick with these eating patterns and also help them avoid developing many chronic diseases, as a child or as an adult.
- Daily Regime - A normal routine brings comfort and consistency to a child’s life. When you include meaningful and important elements into your family life, you’re letting your child know what’s important for you and your family. Daily routines might include: the time to get ready in the morning, bath times, mealtimes, naptimes and bedtimes, housework, cooking and cleaning schedules, play time, family time and outdoor play.
- Orthopedic Shoes - The main motivation to provide your child with good, supportive shoes is to improve their posture. During the period of time children grow, their posture is set for the rest of their lives, and it all begins with the foundation for their entire body, their feet. The correct pair of shoes will improve your kids’ posture by aligning their feet and legs, and it will also prevent leg and back problems in the future.
- Sports Activities - Good posture is a combination of balanced strength and flexibility of certain muscles. When your children are staying active, they are strengthening these essential muscles. Finding a physical activity your child loves will make it easier for them to keep better posture. When they’re active, that’s also more time away from activities that may contribute to poor posture.
For strengthening the child's muscular system and correcting posture it is recommended that children sleep solely on flat and hard surfaces, preferably on orthopedic mattresses and pillows. It is also important that you constantly monitor the child's posture during the learning process and choose the chair correctly. Encourage your child to take frequent breaks from using computer screens or watching television to stretch tired muscles. Another important thing to choose correctly is backpack; when not worn or carried properly, a heavy backpack can pull on the shoulders, which can cause children to slouch, because it’s the only way they can still carry the weight. Investing in a backpack with the wide padded shoulder straps, padded back and a waist and upper chest belt will help distribute the weight evenly and keep your child comfortable.
Today, especially with the time kids are spending using technology, parents can have an extra difficult time ensuring their children are practicing good posture, but if you are concerned about your child’s posture or need any advice, contact our caring and professional team at AYR Chiropractic Spinal Care.